If you’ve spent any time at all watching TV in the past several years you know one thing, Americans don’t sleep well and big pharma has plenty of little pills for that!
Rather than turn to medication to fight insomnia or sleep disturbances, why not try preventing the causes of the problem in the first place? There are many environmental causes that can cause or aggravate insomnia. Here are a few tips for improving your sleep with an environmental approach:
1) Reduce the amount of light entering your sleeping environment. Do you have bright flood lights shining into your windows? The bright blue glow of an LED display? Exposure to light at night adversely affects your circadian rhythm, so remove or cover any light sources. Before you go buy blackout shades, experiment with what you’ve already got on hand. Remove or turn off glowing electronics and use tape to cover bright lights on security systems. Turn your flood lights OFF before going to bed.
2) Remove plug-in alarm clocks next to the bed. Electric alarm clocks generate magnetic fields and can disturb your sleep. Move them several feet away from the bed or replace them with battery operated versions. Likewise, cell phones should be placed in airplane mode, turned off or placed away from the bed.
3) In the same effort to reduce your exposure to magnetic fields while sleeping, make sure there are no major appliances or utility boxes on the other side of the wall from where you lay your head at night. This is especially an issue in small apartments. You may have to do some creative rearranging to make sure your bed is on a safe wall.
4) To stay warm at night, use blankets rather than your thermostat. Keeping the heat turned up will dry your already dry winter air further, to the discomfort of your respiratory system. You should be turning your heat down at night rather than up or keeping it at the same temp. What temperature you decide on will depend on your comfort level and if you sleep alone or not.
5) What mental distractions do you see when you lie in bed? Is there a TV right across from you? A mirror? A stack of unpaid bills or photos that make your mind wander? Experiment with purging your bedroom of distractions. You might be surprised at how your sleep quality improves!
And with that… Sweet dreams…